It cannot be emphasised enough the impact of social media for businesses of all shapes and sizes. In hindsight, Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006) can be seen as major turning points for humanity, yes humanity, and we proclaim this seriously. Social media has facilitated a whole new level of communication and connection between people, particularly long distance communication. Additionally, it has provided us a unique, free and open platform to share views, opinions, values, beliefs, likes, dislikes and experiences. Each individual who is registered on a social media site possesses a unique profile that they can customise, shape and mould to their liking. For example, you can make your social media profile like a public diary of your daily experiences or a medium to voice your opinions on products, services or current affairs; moreover one can be a passive user, following the things that appeal to them to keep up to date on and learn about and understand new things.
Social media for small businesses is imperative because it puts small businesses and those ambitious entrepreneurs on the map. Large corporations are already established via the traditional methods of advertising such as T.V. and radio. What social media has managed to do is to allow small businesses to compete toe to toe with their larger counterparts for the same customer base. Everybody is equal on social media in the sense all organisations have a pool of the same resources to utilise from and small organisations are not put at a disadvantage as they may have been before e.g. on cost of print/radio/television advertising.
Here are some other reasons why social media for small businesses is important and why it works best for them…
Target a wide customer base
The target audience for a local business is no-more restricted to those living within the vicinity. Social media lets them access a completed unsaturated market. If your organisation has a particular USP, you can talk about and raise awareness of it nationally and internationally to bring more customers to your door step. Are you the sole possessor of a secret recipe passed down from generation to generation or have a signature dish? You can now tell (literally) the whole world about it. The products and services you offer may be niche and not provided by large organisation but until now you have not had the opportunity to make it visible beyond immediate reach. Social media dissolves such barriers.
Appeal to people’s values and beliefs
A major advantage for SME’s is the personal touch they are able add to their social media activity. Whereas larger, multinational organisations are money driven, the birth of small and family-run organisations is not only for the will to make profits but is also born out of particular beliefs, values and ethics of the owner as well as a strong passion in a respective field. Customers do not like being seen as money making bots, using social media you can release this passion and reflect it via the content you post, in various forms of media such as pictures and videos and, as a result, appeal to equivalent beliefs and values potential customers may hold. Once you have achieved this, the rest will follow i.e. sales. Large organisations were also small at one point and were created out of particular beliefs, however, as they grow the passion can be lost and diluted once its founding fathers are no longer present, hence they may struggle to be able to appeal to customer in such an intrinsic way. The social media content of small businesses will be from the heart and is unique primarily due to the words coming directly from those passionate individuals. On the other hand larger organisations cannot apply such an approach because it is a difficult task to get an entire workforce to relate to a passion. As a local business you can also vouch your allegiance to local events and causes, adding positives to your brand identity.
A face to the name
If you were asked to give a face to the name of a big brand such as Nando’s or Hilton Hotels, this would turn out to be a difficult task and many would not have an answer. Granted some large organisations achieve this Steve Jobs (Apple) and Bill Gates (Microsoft) are prime examples, however, at large it is difficult for big corporations to achieve a personal approach in their branding. This presents another upper hand for an SME. Being a lean business an SME can reflect an element of warmth and homeliness in their content and a family like atmosphere. An owner of a local restaurant, café or coffee shop can turn their premises into a second home for their customers. To use live examples, certain aspects of the social media content for our clients include pictures of managers, chefs and other members of staff and families (in instances of family run businesses) and these are the same people you see when you visit their premises. Adding a face to the name allows an SME to build a personal rapport with customers and become their friends and not just a provider of a product/service desirable to customers.
Personalised, faster communication
Responses to customer complaints can be done faster on social media. Swift responses to complaints converts a complainant into a brand advocate (someone who will speak positively of your brand within their friends and family circle). Furthermore, the public and open domain of social media means your handling of complaints is there for all to see and marvel upon.
Presence on social media for small businesses is vitally important. It is not a luxury to indulge in when there is spare time, social media must be the core part of your advertising and customer reach strategy, particularly for smaller organisations it is a no brainer, being a free tool as well.
At Creative Digital we have worked with and continue to work with a multitude of SME’s in helping them reach their audience and increase brand awareness. Check out our portfolio to learn more about our projects or get in touch!